Taiwan, Paraguay cut tariffs as bilateral economic accord takes effect

Taipei, An economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and Paraguay that was signed in mid-2017 will become effective on Wednesday, introducing tariff cuts that are expected to save Taiwanese exporters about US$900,000 (NT$27 million) per year in total, according to the national Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT).

Under the bilateral agreement, Paraguay will lower tariffs on 19 Taiwanese products, including sporting equipment and ink, while Taiwan will reduce import duties on 54 products from Paraguay such as beef, fruit juices, and pet food.

Tariffs will be removed entirely on five categories of the 19 Taiwanese products listed in the agreement, including solid sodium hydroxide, polyethylene terephthalate, and nonionic surface-active agents, which were subject to 8-16 percent import duties in Paraguay, the BOFT said.

As for the other 14 Taiwanese items, the import tariffs will be lowered from about 18-35 percent to between 4 percent and 18 percent, the BOFT said.

It said the cuts will save Taiwanese exporters an estimated total of US$900,000 a year.

Meanwhile, tariffs will be removed on 52 products from Paraguay, including pet food and sports shoes, and will be lowered to zero on milk powder and plywood over the next five to six years, the bureau said.

It said those import duty cuts will cost Taiwan about NT$35.51 million (US$1.22 million) per year in total.

Although trade between the two countries is quite small at the moment, Taiwan recognizes the strategic importance of the South American country, which is a diplomatic ally and a member of the South American Common Market, according to the BOFT.

In 2017, Taiwan’s exports worldwide totaled US$317.39 billion and its imports US$259.51 billion, with Paraguay accounting for US$35.86 million and US$39.87 million, respectively, according to data from the BOFT.

The bilateral Agreement on Economic Cooperation was signed in Taipei on July 12, 2017 by Taiwan’s then Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung (???) and Paraguayan Minister of Industry and Commerce Gustavo Leite and witnessed by President Tsai Ing-wen (???) and Paraguay President Horacio Cartes.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel